Identification Number:
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/WSUs/PSCs/OCO/
Originating Office:DCBFM OFPO
Title:Program Debt Write-Off
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:See References at the end of this EM
Retention Date: July 06, 2022

A. Purpose

This Emergency Message (EM) provides information on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and 2021 Program Debt Write-Off Project initiated by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

B. Background

SSA policy requires that we perform due diligence to pursue recovery of Title II and XVI program overpayments prior to determining them as uncollectible. That policy and limited operational resources created uncollectable debt backlogs of pending follow-up actions in our Program Service Centers (PSC).

In the FY 2020, SSA initiated the Title II and XVI Program Debt Write-Off (PDWO) Project to analyze debt we determined to be delinquent and uncollectible for potential termination of agency collection efforts (i.e., write-off) which will provide relief to the PSC pending workloads.

C. Phases of the Program Debt Write-Off Project

There were two phases to the PDWO Project.

    · Phase I: Write-off of qualifying delinquent debt with pending RECOOP “Contact Debtor” alerts in FY 2020 and 2021.

    · Phase II: Write-off of qualifying delinquent debt without pending RECOOP “Contact Debtor” alerts using ROAR and SSR criteria in FY 2021. Phase II also created an automated and reoccurring systematic process to write-off qualified delinquent debt.

PDWO wrote off debts that fell into one of the following categories:

    · Debts two or more years delinquent;

    · Debts $25 and less;

    · Debts owed by an individual under the age of 18; or

    · Debts active in the RECOOP billing system with a contact debtor alert pending.

PDWO will not write-off a delinquent debt if it meets one or more of the following exceptions:

    · The Title II record has more than one open debt;

    · Non-legally defined overpayments (NLDOs);

    · Debts with a pending protest(s);

    · Debts $100,000 or greater;

    · Debts involving fraud or suspected fraud;

    · Debts already referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) ( e.g., Civil Monetary Penalties and Administrative Sanctions);

    · Debts with an existing Termination of Collection code for Title II or Unwilling to Repay code for Title XVI; or

    · Debts without a G TAC for Title XVI.

    1. Identifying Title II PDWO cases

      To identify the cases selected by the PDWO project, the Title II Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) will reflect a code of TC 71 with the date of 09/15/2020 or later on the Recovery of Overpayments, Accounting and Reporting (ROAR) System.

    2. Identifying Title XVI PDWO cases

      For the RECOOP selection of delinquent cases in billing, the PDWO process posts Unwilling to Repay Decisions to overpayments that are marked as frozen or delinquent in billing status RECOOP. This process updates the Supplemental Security Record (SSR) with a DB TAC.

      Updated SSRs will show a DB TAC with DO code L24 in the OPDD segment of the SSR. The TRAN field of the SSR will show OL-MM/DD/YY-L24.

NOTE: When a debt write-off occurs under the PDWO Project, SSA is suspending our efforts to collect the delinquent debt and will no longer continue to send RECOOP bills to debtors. The debt remains eligible for collection from external sources, such as the Treasury Offset Program. Also, if a debtor later becomes eligible for Title II or XVI benefits, SSA will resume active collection of the debt through benefit offset. The debtor may also request a waiver for their debt at any time.

D. Policy and Procedural Changes

The systematic temporary write-off of qualifying delinquent debts in Phase I and Phase II of the PDWO Project allowed for elimination of actions needed on Action Control Records (ACR) within Paperless. Debts written off by PDWO will not have a SSA-553 or Debt Management System (DMS) remarks associated with them. Technicians do not need to create an SSA-553 or DMS remarks for PDWO cases if the automated TC 71 or DB TAC processed successfully.

Due to the PDWO Project, Debtor Contact Representatives (DCR) will no longer need to make phone calls in response to RECOOP alerts 00100, to collect debt from beneficiaries. We archived POMS section GN 02210.212 as of July 17, 2020.

    1. Paperless Exceptions

    Some TC 71 inputs based on Phase 2 criteria cannot process and generate ROAR exception output to the PSC. The TOELs for these exceptions are OPMT/RECOVER/ROAR/FD1, and they usually generate because the TC 71 cannot be processed if the LAF is not N, P, S1-S5, S7, S8, T, U, or X.

    Depending on the circumstances, resolving these exceptions may involve the following actions:

      · Addressing temporary suspense statuses such as S9/MISCEL, S6/DEVADD, etc.,

      · Transferring a debt to a record where the beneficiary is LAF C,

      · Transferring a debt to a contingently liable beneficiary (GN 02205.005), or

      · Other action(s) as determined by SM 00610.415 or specific issues involved on that record.

    If you cannot change the LAF status (e.g. S9/LESSDO) and there is no tangible means of debt recovery from the debtor or another liable beneficiary, the technician will document their findings to the ACR, annotate that no action is necessary and send the ACR to FIN.

    2. Pending Waivers

        a. Title XVI

          If collection efforts for a Title XVI debt are terminated by PDWO and you have a waiver request for the debt that was not input on the SSR prior to the PDWO action, process the waiver request following instructions in SI 02260.000. Input the appropriate decision via the Add/Delete/Change/Delete Overpayment Decision (UODC) screen (see MS 00304.007).

        b. Title II

          If collection efforts for a Title II debt are terminated by PDWO and you have a waiver request for the debt that was not input on the ROAR prior to the PDWO action, process the waiver request following GN 02250.000.
    3. Court Ordered Restitution Cases

      Generally, PDWO will not write-off debts with fraud indicators or MJ TACs. If the court ordered restitution case does not have a fraud indicator or MJ TAC, then it will not be excluded from PDWO and the debt may be written off.

      If PDWO writes off a court ordered restitution case and the debtor is still remitting payments, take the following actions:

          a. Title XVI

            If a court ordered restitution case collection decision is incorrectly changed to unwilling to repay by PDWO, take action to change the overpayment decision to the appropriate collection decision via the UODC screen, (see MS 00304.007). Continue to monitor the case per SI 02220.036.

          b. Title II

            If a court ordered restitution case does not have a fraud indicator and PDWO incorrectly terminated collection (TC 71) of the overpayment, take action to change the transaction code to indicate an ability to pay via the Transaction Correction (SMTC) screen. In addition, take action to add a fraud indicator to the debt via the Modify Debt Statistics (SMMD) screen (MS 01102.005). Continue to monitor the case per GN 02201.055.
E. References

SM 00610.415, Processing Exception Codes

MS 00304.007, Add/Change/Delete Overpayment Decisions (UODC)

SI 02260.000, Waiver Provisions for SSI Overpayments

GN 02250.000, Waiver Provisions for Title II and Title XVI Overpayments

SI 02220.036, SSI Overpayment for Recovery of Court Ordered Restitution

MS 01102.005 Modify Debt Statistics (SMMD)

GN 02201.055, Overpayment after Fraud Conviction

EM-21047 - Program Debt Write-Off - July 8, 2021